Snow starts to fall and the child smiles
Her little hand touches the glass
Of the frost covered window pane.
And, as her fingers feel the cold
Her whole face lights up with pleasure
Because she is a Winter Child.
She stares at the flakes in the sky
And wonders where her mittens are
As well as her snow suit and gloves.
She listens to the keening wind
And imagines castles of ice
Filled with snow faeries and Frost Nymphs.
She will be the castle's princess
All the creatures will be her friends
And they will have great adventures.
Her breath leaves fog clouds on the glass
And she draws a heart with her hand
Placing two initials inside.
They are in clumsy lettering
But the insistent scribble is
More beautiful than skilled cursive.
When the cloud starts to disappear
The Winter Child breathes again
Drawing a new heart with her hand.
The same two initials inside
The same amount of happiness
And even more insistency.
She is indeed a winter Child
But she does not understand that
Her breath is warm and glass is cold.
The heat of her breath on the pane
Is no match for the cold outside
So it will fade away to dust.
But, she never, ever, gives up
She will not let the heart shatter
Or harm come to the name inside.
The initials are still scrawled there
Even though the fog cloud is gone
And the Winter Child is asleep.
Her mother came to say good night
And found her pressed agains the glass
Eyes closed and gently mumbling.
She picked up her sleeping daughter
And wrapped her up under covers
Kissing her cheek before leaving.
She knew she held a Winter Child
Who dreamed of Hail Kings and Ice Knights
Frozen Dragons and Bitter Sprites.
She herself was a Summer Child,
But opposites like to attract
So she cherished her Winter Child.
The mother left and closed the door
Not seeing the faded fog heart
Or the name wrapped inside its warmth.
The little girl slept peacefully
As her mother walked down the stairs
Turned off the light and went to bed.
And while the two of them slept on
That name stayed etched on the window
Noticed by neither of their dreams.
But the heat of the initials
Mixed with the urgency of love
Inside the little girl's fog cloud
Left a mark upon the outside
So that no bitter sickness or
Cruelty of cold could enter there.
The name was the Winter Child's gift
A present to her from the one
Who used to lay claim to the name.
The one who had first taught the Child
Of Summer how to love the cold
And to love the falling snowflakes.
The one who also taught the Child
Of Winter how to cherish warmth
So she could love her mother back.
When the girl woke to the new snow
She cried aloud with happiness
And ran to build her Ice Castle.
And while she sculpted tall pillars
Her mother made hot chocolate
So her Winter Child could be thawed.
And as she cleaned her daughter's room
She smelt a crispness in the air
Like the dying scent of flowers.
And it was mixed with hints of snow
Reminding her of far off days
When she had danced with something cold.
She placed her hand on the window
As she watched her daughter playing
And seemed to feel a hand on hers.
The hand was papery and thin
Covered with spidery blue veins
She felt a lump rise in her throat.
The touch had been so gently sweet
Like a cool breeze carrying leaves
Or the first flakes of winter snow.
She turned her back on the window
And walked slowly from the bedroom
Aching for the name in the heart.
She heard her daughter run inside
And forced herself to push back tears
Because if she did not then it
Would be so much harder to live
And raise her darling Winter Child
If only she could realize that
No harm would come from that window
Or from the name etched on its pane
Because the urgency of a
Winter Child's well-meaning scribble
Had been what called it from outside
And given it a chance to help
Protect both Mother and Daughter
From becoming too fond of the cold…